The UK Government has committed to fund any shortfall to the level of toll revenue required for the construction of Mersey Gateway Bridge project.
On 4 December last year the chief secretary to the Treasury announced that funding would be made available to the project, subject to successful completion of procurement and government approval.
The Government has now agreed to commit to Halton Borough Council, the promoters of the project, to fund any contingent liability of the scheme.
The Mersey Gateway Bridge project involves building of a new 1km long cable-stayed, dual-three lane bridge over the River Mersey between Widnes and Runcorn, along with associated changes to approach roads.
Construction and maintenance of the bridge have been secured under a design-build-finance-operate (DBFO) contract on a fixed price basis.
The initial costs of development, land purchase, decontamination and other project costs will be funded through a grant from the Department for Transport, Halton BC contributions and other third party contributions.
Once the operations start, most of the funding will be earned through toll revenues of both the new bridge and existing Silver Jubilee Bridge over the 26.5 year DBFO contract.
In addition, the department is offering a graduated, decreasing resource Availability Support Grant funding over 12 years starting in 2017-18 (following the opening of the bridge) to 2028-29.
Construction on the project is scheduled to start in April, subject to successful completion of remaining approvals and completion of financial close. The bridge is scheduled to open in 2017.